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Vietnam’s e-commerce startups tweak their business model amid pandemic drag

DealStreetAsia

In a bid to survive the ongoing onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce startups in Vietnam are increasingly gearing up to sell essential items – especially food – to woo consumers who are reluctant to venture out.

Jeffrey Seah, partner for Asia Fund at VC firm Quest Ventures attributed this burgeoning trend to the throes of the pandemic that has thrown normal life off gear.

“Fresh produce and food purchase will become second nature as people get comfortable with the online medium,” Seah told DealStreetAsia over an interaction. “As lockdown continues to be implemented across the world, e-commerce is evolving. From being a temporary replacement, certain things will take a permanent place in our lifestyle now,” said Seah.

Vietnam’s e-commerce sector grew by 46% YoY to reach $7 billion in 2020 – it is expected to touch $29 billion by 2025, per a SE Asia e-Conomy report jointly published by Google, Temasek and Bain&Co.

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Build windmills, not walls: How to tap Indonesia’s digital economy boom

The Business Times

INDONESIA’S digital economy is thriving with opportunities, and traditional players should build windmills – not walls – to embrace the winds of change.

This was one sentiment that surfaced at “Investing in the Indonesian Digital Economy”, an hour-long webinar hosted by Garage, the startups portal of The Business Times, on Aug 31. The event attracted over 1,000 sign-ups.

Mr Seah: I am an accidental venture capitalist. I spent 25 years in the corporate world, the original disruption place: the advertising and marketing world with big data. I remember partnering Alibaba, Tencent, Google, Facebook, when they were like five-person strong in South-east Asia.

In working those markets, many of my clients wanted to sit in Indonesia, because Indonesia is the biggest market and represented the coming of South-east Asia… I think this market continuously attracted the attention of big corporates all over the world, and I think digital (tech) has now driven economic growth.

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Indonesia startups should build on home turf, say panellists

The Business Times

ARE Indonesian startups better off focusing domestically, or should they aim to go regional?

Indonesian startups and entrepreneurs are fortunate because the country is the single largest homogenous market in South-east Asia.

The challenge before these startups would be to “continuously communicate with the market about what their plans are, what they are doing and how they will go forward,” said Quest Ventures’ Mr Seah. “And I think they must have lots of experience after all these years pitching investors for that money, and then building the avenue to go IPO.”

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ScaleUp Malaysia teams up with two VC firms for launch of third cohort

Tech in Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator focused on growth-stage firms, announced the launch of its third cohort today.

Applications for the cohort are now open, with venture capital firms Quest Ventures from Singapore and Indelible Ventures from the US joining to support shortlisted Malaysian scale-up companies.

Quest Ventures, which also supported the accelerator’s second cohort, will co-invest in up to seven companies, while Indelible Ventures will co-invest in up to five firms. The investment partnerships will bring around US$1 million in total investments for the third cohort’s expected 20 applicants. Each participant will receive at least 250,000 Malaysian ringgit (US$59,000) when the program starts in October.

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ScaleUp Malaysia Launched Cohort 3

AsiaOne

ScaleUp Malaysia today launched Cohort 3 of their programme targeting high growth scaleups. In launching Cohort 3 ScaleUp Malaysia announced that they have entered into partnerships with two venture capital firms, Singapore-based Quest Ventures and US based Indelible Ventures to be part of their effort to further scale chosen scaleups at the launch today. Collectively these firms bring access to partners, investors and other networks in Southeast Asia and the United States of America, accelerating targeted growth in new times.

Quest Ventures, a regional venture capital firm based out of Singapore enters its second year of partnership with ScaleUp Malaysia having successfully worked hands-on with 20 scaleups and co-investing into 10 in the Cohort 2 programme. Indelible Ventures, a US based fund with a mandate to invest in Malaysian startups, targets tech-enabled scaleups with B2B products that have the potential to scale at an international level, making it a strategic partner moving forward.

In Cohort 3, Quest Ventures will look to co-invest in up to 7 companies whereas Indelible Ventures seeks to co-invest in up to 5 companies in this cohort. The investment partnerships will bring in a total investment of approximately US$ 1 million (RM4.23 million) to develop and grow Malaysian scaleups, targeting 20 companies to be shortlisted for the Cohort 3 applications.

Jeffrey Seah, Partner of Quest Ventures said, “Our experience in working with the ScaleUp Malaysia team in their second cohort served to affirm our belief in the potential of Malaysian founders. In Cohort 3 we aim to go further by helping founders expand their mindsets and refine their approaches in scaling their businesses, and in exposing them to our networks in the region and around the world.”

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ScaleUp Malaysia launches Cohort 3 with two VC partners

Digital News Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia today launched Cohort 3 of their programme targeting high growth scaleups. In launching Cohort 3 ScaleUp Malaysia announced that they have entered into partnerships with two venture capital firms, Singapore-based Quest Ventures and US based Indelible Ventures to be part of their effort to further scale chosen scaleups. Collectively these firms bring access to partners, investors and other networks in Southeast Asia and the United States, accelerating targeted growth.

Quest Ventures, a regional venture capital firm based out of Singapore enters its second year of partnership with ScaleUp Malaysia having successfully worked hands-on with 20 scaleups and co-investing into 10 in Cohort 2.

Jeffrey Seah, Partner of Quest Ventures said, “Our experience working with the ScaleUp Malaysia team in their second cohort served to affirm our belief in the potential of Malaysian founders. In Cohort 3 we aim to go further by helping founders expand their mindsets and refine their approaches in scaling their businesses, and in exposing them to our networks in the region and around the world.”

The 20 companies shortlisted from the Cohort 3 applications will begin their accelerator journey in October 2021 before pitching in front of the Investment Committee at the end of the programme. As part of the partnership, ScaleUp Malaysia Cohort 3 powered by both Quest Ventures and Indelible Ventures will invest at least US$59,000 (RM250,000) in the companies selected by the Investment Committee.

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The journey ahead: Singapore startup ecosystem becoming Asia’s Silicon Valley

e27

Yiping Goh, Partner at Quest Ventures, reminded us that Singapore already had a high level of academic excellence – for example, other countries are often intimidated by Singapore’s Mathematical rankings, O and A level scores, or, when Singaporean students take classes in Western universities! Yet, this constant strive for academic excellence might just be Singaporean’s own stumbling block – do we dare to take risks, make mistakes and startup, or will we be held back by our own fear of failure?

Yiping added that, after all, going to school was not just about getting educated. It was also a lot about being in a tightly knitted community and network. In institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, INSEAD, Tsinghua, one gets more than just classes, but also an affiliation to its strong alumni network that often accords trust to its members.

These institutions also churn out many incredibly successful alumni that tended to give back to their schools too. She shared about the US-effect or China-effect, where a few extremely high-achieving entrepreneurs would not just do well themselves, but be effective in inspiring those within their own alma mater and country. To that end, she suggested the need to push Singaporeans to go overseas to broaden their networks, and for local universities to build a culture of a tight knitted alumni community that seeks to help each other and to give back.

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How millennials and the pandemic are driving the growth of cloud kitchens in Indonesia

e27

Trends indicate that cloud kitchens are fast becoming a vital part of the food delivery market in Indonesia. According to a March 2021 report by Savills Research, the cloud kitchen market in the archipelago is on a growth trajectory. The tech pioneers in the space are Grabkitchen (Grab) and Dapur Bersama (Gojek).

As the industry grew, the list of companies entering the sector also increased. Savills estimates that seven operators in Jakarta alone operate 70 cloud kitchen branches comprising 500-plus kitchen pods. The names include Yummy Corp., Hangry, Everplate, Kita Kitchen, Telepot Co-Kitchen, and Eatsii.

“The cloud kitchens sector has been growing tremendously through the pandemic as F&B brands get disrupted in the traditional model of serving up food to consumers,” said Yiping Goh, Partner at Quest Ventures. “This trend will continue as the pandemic evolves into an endemic eventually. Indonesian F&B owners are tired of the numerous, extended lockdowns imposed and are forced to look for new models that are more endemic-resilient.”

She, however, believes that it is still early days in the cloud kitchen growth story. More innovation in the model, especially in the food delivery and experience, will continue to grow.

…, Mario Suntanu, CEO and co-founder of Yummy Corp., believes that regardless of COVID-19, consumer behaviour was moving towards significant consumption via food delivery due to a population that was getting busier and the traffic that was getting worse.

“Cloud Kitchen mainly addresses the merchant problem, and the merchant problem remains the same. It’s just that the urgency was higher during the pandemic, which accelerated the adoption,” he noted.

“We learned that products that sell well via delivery channels hadn’t been necessarily the same products that sell well in malls and shopping centres, especially when seen from the perspective of form and pricing. So it means that as malls open, there may be some readjustments of share of wallet, but overall the intersection of consumers would not be large enough,” Suntanu stated.

The amount of capital injected into the sector has been on the rise, evident from the number of players in the market compared to a few years ago. VCs and prominent tech companies, especially ride-hailing giants, have doubled down on their cloud kitchen facilities in Indonesia.

Recently, Yummy Corp. extended its Series B round with an investment from Sembrani Nusantara, a fund managed by BRI Ventures. This round came less than a year after it bagged US$12 million in Series B, led by Softbank Ventures Asia, in September 2020.

If the current consumption and investment trends are anything to go by, cloud kitchens are here to stay. But the success of this model depends on the quality of the food delivered in the quickest possible time. “Cloud kitchen would need to be carving out a distinctive experience to elevate the overall food delivery experience, such as speed, customer service, and packaging,” remarked Yummy Corp.’s Suntanu.

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3 unicorns emerge as S’pore tech start-ups raise $5.3b

The Straits Times

Tech start-ups in Singapore raised $5.3 billion in the first half of this year, up from $3.4 billion in the same period last year.

The Republic has also added three unicorns – software firm PatSnap, used car marketplace Carro and payments company Nium – to its ranks this year.

This demonstrates the resilience of the start-up ecosystem in Singapore despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) chairman Peter Ong said yesterday.

In a separate statement, Seeds Capital chairman and ESG deputy chief executive Ted Tan said: “Catalysing more VC investments in this current environment where investors tend to be more cautious is significant.

“Seeds Capital can now offer deep tech start-ups, which have innovative and scalable solutions, with the opportunity to be mentored by our new partners who bring with them extensive mar-ket connections and a wealth of sector-specific domain knowledge to increase their chances of success.”

Among the new co-investment partners are innovation platform Plug and Play, VC fund Quest Ventures and family office Schweizer World Group.

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Singapore’s tech start-ups raised $5.3b in first half of 2021, up from $3.4b in 2020

The Straits Times

As part of efforts to sustain this growth momentum and support more quality start-ups, ESG’s investment arm Seeds Capital will be appointing 13 new venture capital (VC) firms as co-investment partners under the Startup SG Equity scheme.

In a separate statement, Seeds Capital chairman and ESG deputy chief executive Ted Tan said: “Catalysing more VC investments in this current environment where investors tend to be more cautious is significant.

“Seeds Capital can now offer deep tech start-ups, which have innovative and scalable solutions, with the opportunity to be mentored by our new partners who bring with them extensive market connections and a wealth of sector-specific domain knowledge to increase their chances of success.”

Among the new co-investment partners are innovation platform Plug and Play, VC fund Quest Ventures and family office Schweizer World Group.

Besides funding, these partners will also provide mentorship and help start-ups in their commercialisation efforts.

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How Philippine cloud kitchen industry is piggybacking on the country’s unique food culture, shifting customer behaviour

e27

The Philippine food delivery market is growing exponentially (~48 per cent y-o-y growth), the fastest in Southeast Asia, and is projected to hit US$8 billion by 2025. This growth is attributed mainly to the pandemic. With many of the country’s major cities still under lockdown and the resumption of dine-in services is uncertain, customers prefer ordering food online and have it home-delivered.

This is where cloud kitchens fit in. Also called ‘ghost kitchens’, ‘shared kitchens’, or ‘virtual kitchens’, cloud kitchens are commercial facilities purpose-built to produce food specifically for delivery.

The cloud kitchen industry is still in its early stages in the Philippines when compared with fast-growing markets such as the US, the Middle East, and India, and even neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia. It is not surpising as the food delivery ecosystem itself is relatively young in the Philippines, where the first delivery firm to enter the market was foodpanda in 2014 — just seven years ago.

“Cloud kitchen also became a strong avenue for both F&B and delivery companies alike to experiment with new F&B concepts. The pandemic accelerated this natural evolution and brought forward that timeline as extended lockdowns created new consumption habits in consumers for delivery-based orders — be it for F&B brands that they are already familiar with or to try out new food concepts to beat the boredom during lockdowns. In fact, many popular F&B brands today in Southeast Asia are born out of cloud kitchens and never ever saw a retail outlet identity,” says Yiping Goh, Partner at Quest Ventures.

“We are already in talks with several players in the Philippines and Thailand and feel that they are only one or two years behind Indonesia and Singapore. The trajectory shows that they will also grow rapidly as demand from both F&B brands and consumers are surging in these regions as well,” says Goh of Quest Ventures.

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How tech giants are spawning a generation of investors in SE Asia

DealStreetAsia

Executives in Southeast Asia are giving up the comfort of plush corporate jobs to become fund managers as the startup ecosystem in the region is throwing up significant investment opportunities.

James Tan, the co-founder and managing partner of Quest Ventures, is one such investor. Tan earlier co-founded and served as the COO at NASDAQ-listed e-commerce company 55tuan in China.

Under his leadership, the company grew from a five-person operation to one that had a headcount of 5,000 employees across China with a presence in over 200 cities.

55tuan then went on to become the first and the only group-buying startup to make a debut on NASDAQ in 2015. Its investors then included Goldman Sachs, Zero2IPO Capital, Sky Blessing Investment and CDH Investments.

That experience was significant, Tan said. It helped him understand the impact that private capital and technology can have on any sector that eventually led him to launch his own VC.

“Unless you are deep in the trenches with the startup, you can never have an understanding of what they are going through. What an investor has is at best an expansive yet in-depth theoretical perspective of the startup at a point in time, usually monthly, mostly quarterly,” he said.

“We get new ideas from meeting new founders every day. You don’t get this opportunity as a founder,” said Quest Ventures’ Tan.

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За что медицинский стартап Cerebra получил $1 млн от Тимура Турлова

Forbes

Владелец Freedom Holding Corp проинвестировал казахстанскую разработку — программное обеспечение для диагностики инсульта.

Столь крупное вложение не характерно для сферы венчурных инвестиций Казахстана, тем более когда речь идет о местном deep-tech-продукте, а не очередной е-commerce-площадке. Что такое Cerebra и как она создавалась? Чем эта система привлекла инвестора?

– Это узконаправленный искусственный интеллект для автоматизации диагностики инсульта. Говоря профессиональным языком, это постпроцессинговое программное обеспечение для врачей, вовлеченных в инсультную службу, используемое для обнаружения признаков острого нарушения мозгового кровообращения по радиологическим снимкам и клиническим данным, – объяснил CEO компании Cerebra.ai Ltd Досжан Жусупов. – Мы помогаем дифференцировать инсульт по его видам и определить локализацию пораженной зоны в объеме тканей мозга.

Cerebra.ai Ltd не впервые получает столь высокую оценку своих достижений. Первые свои инвестиции в размере $50 тыс. компания получила как финалист первого потока международной акселерационной программы Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator (KDA).

Акселератор, запущенный в рамках сотрудничества между АО «QazTech Ventures» (дочерняя организация АО «Казына Капитал Менеджмент») и ведущего сингапурского фонда Quest Ventures, в течение 3 месяцев обучал участников проекта у лучших международных менторов. По итогам программы было отобрано 10 проектов, которые и были «премированы» деньгами на развитие.

– Cerebra — это проект – выпускник первого потока Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator и первый в истории deep tech, привлекающий инвестиции по всей классике венчурного финансирования, – с гордостью говорит инвестиционный директор Quest Ventures в Казахстане Руслан Ракымбай. – Мы видим, что мировой рынок услуг, на котором реализуется проект Cerebra, очень большой и места для подобных решений хватит для многих, однако необходимо углублять R&D и выходить на новые рынки как можно скорее. У команды Сerebra есть все шансы стать первым deep-tech-стартапом, который может быть куплен стратегическими игроками.

Quest Ventures — фонд, который инвестирует на ранней стадии и помогает вырастить из таких проектов, как Сerebra, крупную компанию, добавил Руслан Ракымбай.

– Наша задача ещё не выполнена, и мы дальше будем помогать команде Сerebra выходить на зарубежные рынки и привлекать новые раунды инвестиции для масштабирования, – пообещал он.

В свою очередь и.о. председателя правления АО «QazTech Ventures» Диас Бексолтан отметил, что «наличие конкурентной среды безусловно положительный фактор для проекта, так как показывает его актуальность в этой сфере, а также сподвигает на дальнейшее его совершенствование, поэтому я считаю, что у Cerebra большой потенциал развития, и в скором времени мы обязательно услышим о них в разрезе международного рынка».

Для QazTech Ventures, как для института развития венчурного рынка в Казахстане, успех Cerebra был очень значимым.

– Перед нами стояла задача дать толчок венчурной индустрии Казахстана и запустить механизм, позволяющий стартапам повысить свою экспертизу для дальнейшего масштабирования, и благодаря программе KDA мы видим достаточно хорошую динамику в этом направлении – добавил Бексолтан.

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Delivery group that serves south-east Asia’s remote villages weighs IPO

The Financial Times

Ninja Van, a logistics group that has used motorcycles, boats and even water buffaloes to deliver 1.7m parcels every day across south-east Asia, is considering an initial public offering as early as next year after being valued at $1bn.

Backed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, Ninja Van’s growth in revenue and orders has surged thanks to an ecommerce boom fuelled by south-east Asia’s 400m internet users.

Armed with 34,000 employees and 1,800 sorting stations, the seven-year-old company specialises in delivering to the thousands of smaller cities and remote villages across south-east Asia that international couriers struggle to serve. Despite coronavirus pandemic-enforced lockdowns, daily shipments have grown from 1m in May 2020 to 1.7m in July.

But Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures, pointed to price competition as a significant challenge for upstart delivery groups.

“Generally, logistics is a price-war game. It’s an expensive battle for market share, perhaps even a winner-take-all battle,” Seah said.

“Some of the ecommerce companies are also starting their own logistics services, partly aimed at stopping incumbent players from raising prices.”

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Influencer marketing firm Partipost bags US$5m additional funding, plans Vietnam entry

Marketing Interactive

The recent extended and oversubscribed round is led by Quest Ventures with participation by existing investor SPH Ventures, and new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network. Earlier this year, the company also secured an investment of US$3.5 million in a Series A round funding to expand its business into Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

With the legal completion of this fundraising round, partner of Quest Ventures Jeffrey Seah will join Partipost’s board as director. He was previously board observer from Quest Ventures’ earlier investment in Partipost in July last year.

“Since our initial investment, Partipost has demonstrated its business acumen and operating verve across the three markets it originally operates in. Partipost has balanced the need to recruit brand-safe nano influencers that resonate with commercial partners, and simultaneously pitch to and onboard business partners looking for authentic direct-to-customer relationships as social commerce notches increasing contribution to sales. We look forward to the leaders expanding their formula to new markets and filling up the management bench strength for further growth,” said Seah.

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Influencer marketing platform Partipost gets US$5m in extended Series A round

The Business Times

PARTIPOST, a crowd influencer marketing and commerce platform, has secured an extended Series A funding round of US$5 million led by Quest Ventures. Existing investor SPH Ventures and new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network, an angel investor network, also participated in the round.

The funds raised will be used to develop Partipost’s tech platform and accelerate business expansion into Vietnam, as well as strengthen current operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Quest Ventures partner Jeffrey Seah will join Partipost’s board as a director. He was previously a board observer from an earlier investment by Quest.

“(The founders) have balanced the need to recruit brand-safe nano influencers who resonate with commercial partners, while pitching to and onboarding business partners looking for authentic direct-to-customer relationships as social commerce notches increasing contribution to sales,” Mr Seah said.

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SG influencer marketing startup Partipost raises $5m in Quest Ventures-led round

DealStreetAsia

Partipost, a Singapore-based crowd influencer marketing and commerce platform, has secured $5 million in an oversubscribed extended round led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures, according to an announcement.

Other investors in the funding round include including existing investor SPH Ventures and new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network.

With the legal completion of this fundraising round, Jeffrey Seah, partner of Quest Ventures, will join Partipost’s Board as Director. He was previously Board Observer from Quest Ventures’ earlier investment in Partipost.

Partipost drives authentic word-of- mouth marketing by matching brands to influencers with the highest brand affinity. With data insights collected through its in-app polls and user behaviours, Partipost’s data-centric framework crowdsources influencers with follower sizes ranging from a few hundred to millions of followers.

Last year, SPH Ventures led a $3.5 million funding round in influencer marketing startup Partipost. Quest Ventures also joined in this round.

SPH Ventures is the corporate venture capital fund of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, Asia’s leading media organisation listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. The fund size totals S$100 million.

Quest Ventures has a portfolio of 90+ venture-backed companies operate in more than 150 cities across Asia. Most recently, it has joined a $4.6 million investment in Vietnam-based food-tech startup KAMEREO.

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Nano-influencer platform to use $5 mln funding to strengthen operations in SEA, including PHL

BusinessWorld

Partipost, a nano-influencer marketing and commerce platform, received extended funding on their series A round, with investments totaling $5 million. The funds will be used to accelerate product and market expansion in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, where its app launched this month.

The Singapore-based startup’s oversubscribed round was led by venture capital firm Quest Ventures, with participation from existing investor SPH Ventures, and new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network.

Jeffrey Seah, a partner from Quest Ventures, will join Partipost’s board as director. He was previously a board observer from Quest Ventures’ earlier investment in the platform.

“They [Partipost’s founders] have balanced the need to recruit brand-safe nano influencers that resonate with commercial partners, and simultaneously pitch to and onboard business partners looking for authentic direct-to-customer relationships… increasing contribution to sales,” Mr. Seah said in a press statement.

Partipost saw a threefold increase year-on-year in the total number of influencers during the pandemic, as the crisis highlighted the need for businesses to build a strong presence online. In the Philippines, where its app was launched at the beginning of July, the platform has garnered more than 4,000 Partiposters.

“In terms of notable Filipino influencers, our niche is in nano influencers, the everyday people, so I wouldn’t say there’s a specific notable influencer,” Ms. Tam added.

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Singapore influencer marketing platform raises additional $1.5m for series A round

Tech in Asia

Partipost, a Singapore-based crowd influencer marketing platform, announced it has secured an additional US$1.5 million in funding on its series A round. The extended funding round was led by Quest Ventures, with participation from SPH Ventures, iGlobe Partners, and XA Network.

Last year, the company raised US$3.5 million in its earlier series A tranche from Quest Ventures and SPH ventures.

With the funding, Quest Ventures’ partner Jeffrey Seah will join Partipost’s board of directors. Last year, after the completion of the funding round’s first close, SPH Ventures’ chief executive Chua Boon Ping also joined the company’s board.

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Partipost bags US$5M in oversubscribed Series A round to boost presence in 6 markets

e27

Pandemic winner Partipost, Asia-based crowd influencer marketing and commerce platform, announced today it has secured extended funding of US$5 million in their Series A round led by Quest Ventures.

Other participants in this round are existing investor SPH Ventures, and new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network.

Partipost raised US$3.5 million last year in a round led by SPH Ventures and Quest Ventures and other investors.

The extended fundraising round this year of US$5 million will enable Partipost to continue to improve its technology, execute market expansion into Vietnam, and double down on its current operations in existing markets, including Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

When the legal procedure completes, Jeffrey Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures will be the Director of Partipost’s Board, following his current position as Board Observer since the previous funding.

“Since our initial investment, Jon, Ben and Tony [Partipost’s founders] have demonstrated their business acumen and operating verve across the three markets they originally operate in,” said Seah.

“They have balanced the need to recruit brand-safe nano influencers that resonate with commercial partners,“ added Seah.

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Partipost bags USD 5 million for influencer marketing campaigns, enters Vietnam

KrASIA

Influencer marketing platform Partipost raised USD 5 million in a Series A funding round led by Quest Ventures, with participation from existing investor SPH Ventures, as well as new investors iGlobe Partners and XA Network. Following the investment, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, will join Partipost’s board as director. Part of the fresh funds will be for Partipost’s entry to Vietnam.

“Since our initial investment, Jon, Ben, and Tony have demonstrated their business acumen and operating verve,” said Jeffrey Seah in a statement. “They have balanced the need to recruit brand-safe nano-influencers that resonate with commercial partners, and simultaneously pitch to and onboard business partners looking for authentic direct-to-customer relationships as social commerce notches increasing contribution to sales.”

The global influencer marketing industry is set to grow to USD 13.8 billion this year, according to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub. Southeast Asia’s young demographics and high degree of social media usage make the region a breeding ground for influencers and online celebrities. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have the most influencers on Instagram in Southeast Asia. The top industries that advertise with influencers are fashion, travel, beauty, food, fitness, and parenting. Besides Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are also popular channels for influencer marketing.

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Startup công nghệ phân phối thực phẩm KAMEREO gọi vốn thành công 4,6 triệu USD

VietNam Finance

Công ty khởi nghiệp công nghệ phân phối thực phẩm KAMEREO mới đây đã huy động thành công khoản vốn 4,6 triệu USD trong vòng gọi vốn Series A được đồng dẫn dắt bởi Tập đoàn CPF cùng các quỹ đầu tư mạo hiểm Quest Ventures và Genesia Ventures.

KAMEREO là nền tảng phân phối thực phẩm B2B ứng dụng công nghệ đầu tiên tại Việt Nam trong lĩnh vực nhà hàng, khách sạn, quán cà phê, cửa hàng bán lẻ và văn phòng, kết nối người mua với người sản xuất nông nghiệp một cách nhanh chóng, đồng thời hỗ trợ các bên đẩy nhanh tiến độ cung cấp trái cây và rau củ đến các nhà hàng.

Bà Goh Yiping, đại diện cho quỹ Quest Ventures tỏ ra ấn tượng về khả năng triển khai chuỗi cung ứng toàn diện và kiến thức thị trường đối với mô hình “từ trang trại đến bàn ăn” tại Việt Nam của Kamereo. Còn ông Takahiro Suzuki, đại diện cho quỹ Genesia Ventures cho biết sẽ tiếp tục hỗ trợ đội ngũ KAMEREO trong việc thực hiện tầm nhìn “tái định nghĩa ngành kinh doanh thực phẩm” của công ty.

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KAMEREO, Vietnam’s First Tech-Powered B2B Food Sourcing Platform, Raises $4.6 Million In Series A Funding

Vietcetera

To cap off a stellar 12 month period, the company has recently announced a $4.6 million injection in Series A funding. The round was co-led by original 2019 seed investors Genesia Ventures, along with Quest Ventures and CPF Group, whose Vietnamese entity C.P. Vietnam Corp is a leading agro-industrial and food conglomerate which helps businesses comply with hygiene and food safety regulations.

Quest Ventures partner Gih Yiping commented after the round’s conclusion that the group was, “Very impressed by KAMEREO’s execution, in-depth supply chain, and market knowledge in the farm to fork space in Vietnam. KAMEREO sits in one of the largest food production hubs of Southeast Asia, and there is much room to grow in solving many of the inefficiencies of the supply chain today, improving farmers’ livelihood outcomes and procuring the best products for businesses and homes.”

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国外创投新闻 | 农业科技公司「Kamereo」融资460万美元,连接越南农民和中小型餐饮企业

36Kr

据外媒TechCrunch报道,总部位于越南胡志明市的农业科技公司「Kamereo」近期宣布融资460万美元,由食品集团CPF Group、Quest Ventures以及Genesia Ventures联合领投。据悉,这笔资金将用于招聘、建设新的仓库管理系统、升级用户界面以及明年向河内市扩张。

越南有许多小型公路,卡车无法进入,因此「Kamereo」的最后一英里配送在大部分情况下是由摩托车完成运输的。Tanaka表示,这种模式的主要缺点是单程可运输货物的数量有限,因此效率有待提高。由于配送员需要每天多次出行,「Kamereo」计划扩大其在胡志明市的微型仓库网络,从而减短配送员单程的配送距离。与此同时,该公司的技术团队也正致力于建立一个内部系统来管理库存、履行和最后一英里交货,其目标是实现可变成本最小化。

Quest Ventures合伙人Goh Yiping在一份关于本轮投资的声明表示,“「Kamereo」位于东南亚最大的粮食生产中心之一,在解决当今供应链的许多低效问题、改善农民的生计成果以及为企业和家庭采购提供最佳产品方面,还有很大的发展空间。”

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Vietnam-based foodtech firm KAMEREO raises $4.6m

DealStreetAsia

Vietnam-based food-tech startup KAMEREO has raised a $4.6 million funding co-led by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand’s CPF Group, Quest Ventures, and Genesia Ventures.

KAMEREO said in a statement it will use part of the new investment to expand its team and develop a one-stop procurement platform for its F&B businesses.

KAMEREO was founded in 2018 by Japanese expatriate Taku Tanaka, who was the COO at PE firm Mekong Capital-backed restaurant chain Pizza 4Ps.

Vietnam is one of the largest food production hubs of Southeast Asia, according to Goh Yiping, partner of Quest Ventures. “There is much room to grow in solving many of the inefficiencies of the supply chain today, improving farmers’ livelihood outcomes and procuring the best products for businesses and homes,” she said.

For CPF Group, the investment in KAMEREO helps it penetrate further into the technology facet of the Vietnamese food value chain. The Thai giant has invested extensively in Vietnam through developing processing facilities and distribution network. Earlier this year, it built Southeast Asia’s largest complex of breeding and processing chicken for export in Binh Phuoc, southern Vietnam.

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日本人起業家によるベトナムの飲食店向けB2Bマーケットプレイス「KAMEREO」運営、シリーズAで5億円を調達

The Bridge

ベトナム・ホーチミンシティ(HCMC)を拠点に、飲食店向けの仕入れプラットフォーム「KAMEREO」を運営する KAMEREO は18日、シリーズ A ラウンドで5億円を調達したことを明らかにした。このラウンドに参加したのは、タイ財閥 CP Group(Charoen Pokphand)傘下の食品関連企業 CPF Group、Quest Ventures(求索創投)、ジェネシアベンチャーズと、名前非開示の個人投資家。ジェネシアベンチャーズは、前回の2019年1月に実施されたラウンドに続く参加となる。

Quest Ventures は、中国で Groupon クローン Wowo(窩窩、もしくは55Tuan=55団)を成功させ、NASDAQ 上場させたシンガポール人起業家 James Tan 氏や中国人起業家 Yunming Wang(王贇明)氏らが2010年に設立したベンチャーキャピタルで、これまでの投資先は60社超。有名な投資先には、先月ユニコーンクラブ入りが明らかになった自動車売買&サブスクの Carro や、早ければ年内にも SPAC(特別目的買収会社)を使ってアメリカでの上場が報じられているフリマアプリの Carousell などがある。

B 向けの食材サプライチェーンプラットフォームは、各国で堅実な成長を見せている。アメリカの FoodMarven、中国の Meicai=美菜(ブルームバーグは5月、アメリカでの IPO 準備にあると報じた)、インドの Ninjacart(5月時点の時価総額は5億米ドル)、ケニアの Twiga Foods 、ポーランドおよびハンガリーの Supp.li などがそれだ。KAMEREO の現在の社員数は約100人。同社ではホーチミンシティに続き、2022年にはベトナムの首都で人口2位の街ハノイに進出し、ベトナムにおけるリーディングプレーヤーの地位を獲得したいとしている。

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ベトナムで飲食店や小売店向けのB2Bオンラインマーケットプレイスを運営するKAMEREO、5億円の資金調達を実施

PR TIMESとは

ベトナムで飲食店や小売店向けのBtoBオンラインマーケットプレイス「KAMEREO」を運営するKAMEREO INTERNATIONAL PTE. LTD.(代表取締役: 田中卓、本社: シンガポール、以下KAMEREO)は、2021年5月にCPF Group(代表取締役: Prasit Boondoungprasert、本社: タイ)、Quest Venture(代表取締役: James Tan、本社: シンガポール)、ジェネシア・ベンチャーズ(代表取締役: 田島聡一、本社: 東京都港区)、その他個人投資家から、シリーズAラウンドにて5億円の資金調達を実施いたしました。

<事業概要>

KAMEREOは、ベトナムのホーチミン市を拠点にベトナム初の飲食店及び小売店向けのB2Bオンラインマーケットプレイスを運営しています。現在のベトナムには日本の農協のような仕組みが存在せず、生産者から飲食店・小売店までのフードサプライチェーンに複数の仲介業者が介在する非効率な多層構造となっています。当社はテクノロジーと自社物流網の活用により、生産者と飲食店・小売店を繋ぐプラットフォームを構築することで課題解決に取り組んでいます。数百もの飲食店及び小売店からの購買需要を集約し、農家や生産者から直接購買する事で、より安価で安定した品質の商品提供を可能にしています。ベトナムの飲食事業者の99%は中小事業者であるため、多くの事業者が効率的な購買活動ができていません。当社は「Redefine the Food Business」という創業当初からのビジョンのもと、煩雑な数多くのサプライヤーとのやり取りを無くし、シェフや経営者の方が料理や接客など、よりクリエイティブな仕事に集中できるよう飲食・小売店向けワンストップ購買プラットフォームの構築を目指してまいります。

<調達使用の用途>
今回の資金調達により、営業チームの強化、プロダクトの機能拡充、商品数の拡充、倉庫ネットワークの拡大、ハノイへの進出に取り組んでまいります。

<KAMEREOからのコメント>
新型コロナウイルス禍において、依然として飲食業界は厳しい状況が継続しています。その中でも、高いサービス継続率と堅調な新規顧客獲得により、月次平均で15%超の成長を実現し、今回の資金調達に至りました。ワクチン接種等、新型コロナウイルス関連では明るいニュースも少しずつ出始めています。この厳しい状況下で自分達ができることは何かを考えて、毎日KAIZENを重ねて、事業成長に尽力していきます。また、KAMEREOでは、積極的に採用活動を実施しており、弊社の事をより良く知ってもらう為にカルチャーデックを以下に公開致します。ベトナムで日本人が経営するスタートアップに少しでも興味をお持ちの方はご覧いただけますと幸いです。

<シリーズAラウンド引受け先のコメント>

CP Vietnam Corporation Montri Suwanposri CEO
KAMEREO社との資本業務提携について大変嬉しく思います。ベトナムでシェアNo.1を誇るCP Vietnam Corporationの食肉生産及び世界最高レベルの安全品質が、KAMEREO社の持つ飲食業界の知見、ネットワーク及びテクノロジーと掛け合わさることで大きな相乗効果が生まれると確信しています。弊社は、KAMEREO社と共に飲食事業者の方々が多くのお客様を幸せにする手助けができるよう尽力してまいります。

Quest Ventures Goh Yiping Partner
KAMEREO社の持つベトナム飲食業界に対する知見、生産者から最終消費者に至るまでの食品サプライチェーン、そして事業のエグゼキューション力を高く評価しています。ベトナムは東南アジアで最大の食品市場の1つですが、サプライチェーンは非効率で改善の余地が大きく残されています。KAMEREO社はこれらの課題を解決することで、ベトナムの農家や飲食事業者の生活をより豊かにすることができると考えています。

株式会社ジェネシア・ベンチャーズ 鈴木 隆宏 ジェネラルパートナー
2018年のシードラウンドでリード投資家として参画させていただいて以来、事業転換やコロナ禍を乗り越え、ベトナムの飲食・小売業界の変革を主導するB2Bプラットフォームへと力強く成長を続けるKAMEREO社と共に歩んでこれたことを誇りに思います。田中さんや東角さん率いるKAMEREOチームの一員として、「Redefine the Food business」というビジョンの達成に向けて引き続き伴走していけることを楽しみにしております。

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Kamereo gets $4.6M to connect farmers and F&B businesses in Vietnam

TechCrunch

While working as the chief operating officer of a pizza chain in Vietnam, Taku Tanaka saw how difficult it is for restaurants to connect with farmers. Many small F&B businesses can’t buy in large volumes, so they rely on nearby markets or multiple suppliers who only sell one category. In turn, this means farmers are disconnected from the end customers of their products, making it hard to predict selling prices or plan their crops. Tanaka founded Kamereo, B2B platform with its own warehouse and last-mile delivery network, to focus on those problems.

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, the company announced today that it has raised $4.6 million co-led by food conglomerate CPF Group, Quest Ventures and Genesia Ventures. The capital will be used for hiring, building a new warehouse management system, user interface upgrades and expanding into Hanoi next year.

In a statement about the investment, Quest Ventures partner Goh Yiping said, “Kamereo sites in one of the largest food production hubs of Southeast Asia, and there is much room to grow in solving many of the inefficiencies of the supply chain today, improving farmers’ livelihood outcomes and procuring the best products for businesses and homes.”

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After luring VC money, SE Asia’s DTC startups look to tackle customer acquisition cost

DealStreetAsia

Southeast Asia’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) market is going through a major transformation with many new labels emerging in the region. This includes names like Indonesian culinary startup Mangkokku, and Singapore-based Ox Street designing Asian-inspired streetwear for the region’s next generation of image-conscious millennials.

“The value that founders can unlock in DTC has grown smaller in the last five years,” acknowledged James Tan, managing partner at Quest Ventures. “We are very opening to meeting DTC startups in Southeast Asia, and I believe we have analysed or met every one of them. But there are not many.”

“Shein is succeeding not because of its global coverage, but because of the thousands of suppliers it has at any time for any product and the quick turnaround time and quality that these suppliers have. Southeast Asia does not have the scale of production to match,” Tan added.

“Any worthy upstart from Southeast Asia will have to solve production before competing with Shein. If any such competitor were to emerge, it would be from Vietnam, which is already the world’s third largest garment producer after China and Bangladesh,” he continued.

As consumer-facing brands, the oft-mentioned variances in cultures and living standards across Southeast Asia also come into play here, which would mean that there are more likely to be local winners rather than regional ones, said Tan. “This limits their total addressable markets.”

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Gender diversity gap is ‘definitely stark’ in VC industry, says Quest Ventures’ Goh Yiping [ORIGIN Innovation Awards Q&A]

TechNode Global

Although there are more female venture capitalists in recent years, the VC industry is still very much male-dominated. The venture ecosystem – comprising venture capitalists, tech startup founders, and decision-makers – remains pre-dominantly male despite many efforts to improve the gender diversity in the industry.

In the TechNode Global Q&A, Singapore-headquartered VC firm Quest Ventures Partner Goh Yiping shared how she started her career in the industry and how she dealt with some of the stereotyping and biases she met when she first joined the industry. She also shared her views on gender lens investing, among others.

The gender diversity gap is definitely stark, Goh said. But she said she enjoys setting an example that a female VC can be as logical, as non-emotional, as strong in dealmaking, as battle-tested, if not more than her male counterparts. “There’s still a lot of myths when it comes to working with female leadership, and I continue to enjoy debunking that,” she added.

Goh also gave some advice to female founders, venture capitalists and also shared her suggestions on how to encourage more female participation in the startup and VC ecosystem.

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Bullish investors spot big promise in Southeast Asia’s earned wage access startups

DealStreetAsia

Risk capital investors are increasingly evincing interest in earned wage access (EWA) startups in Southeast Asia that are disrupting the payday lending model.

Take Indonesia, for instance. Even as the sector is at a nascent stage in the country, as many as two deals have been closed in fintech startups riding on the burgeoning EWA wave this year.

While wagely raised $5.6 million in June, GajiGesa secured $2.5 million in seed capital led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures in February, with participation from GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group, besides a slew of angel investors.

Most workers in Southeast Asia are paid salaries at the end of the month, except The Philippines where wages are paid on a fortnightly basis. It’s common for workers to go up to their employers and request for a salary in advance, usually at a zero-interest rate. “However, not everyone gets the approval,” said Vidit Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of Indonesia-based EWA startup GajiGesa.

“We try to educate employees about their financial standing as and when they transact with us,” said GajiGesa’s Agrawal. The firm also works with employers on capping transactions and setting withdrawal limits.

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Tsao family’s shipping business turns to venture capital in search of fresh ideas

The Business Times

Maritime companies constantly think of ways to reduce their hefty fuel costs. It’s a complex matter — fuel consumption is affected by weather, the route, vessel age, the cargo, and how well the hull is maintained.

Yet, technology could make this issue one of the lowest hanging fruits in a list of problems to solve.

As the maritime sector grapples with inefficiencies, the potential for innovation is enough to nudge a 55-year-old Singapore-based shipping group into the world of startup investments.

IMC Group, founded by late shipping magnate Frank Tsao, has launched a corporate venture capital (VC) arm under its maritime and logistics unit.

IMC Ventures will invest in pre-Series A and Series B startups with a focus on environmental sustainability and social impact.

Startups will get access to IMC’s network of clients and operational expertise, said Mr Ong, who was previously partner at supply chain company YCH Group’s corporate venture arm.

IMC Ventures has also invested in global VC iGlobe Partners and Singapore-based Quest Ventures to increase its tech exposure. It is currently doing due diligence on a US-based fund.

The venture arm will focus on technology in the key areas of data analytics, green shipping, capacity and route optimisation, and cost savings and vessel performance.

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Казахстанские IT-стартапы в период пандемии

zakon.kz

В прошлом году в Казахстане начала работу программа Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator (KDA), нацеленная на всестороннюю поддержку и развитие отечественных стартапов в сфере компьютерных технологий. Ее запуск явился плодом совместных усилий холдинга “Байтерек” (в лице дочерней организации АО “QazTech Ventures”) и сингапурского фонда “Quest Ventures”.

Управляющий директор АО “НУХ “Байтерек” Адиль Нургожин рассказал порталу zakon.kz о полученных результатах, наиболее многообещающих проектах и дальнейших планах в этом направлении.

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Uncovering the NOC mafia, which is way bigger than you think

Tech in Asia

What do companies like ShopBack, PatSnap, Carousell, and 99.co have in common?

Beyond the fact that they were founded by fresh graduates, all three startups were launched by members of the 3,400-strong alumni network of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Overseas Colleges program.

The program, known as NOC for short, dates back to 2002 when its first batch of students were sent to Silicon Valley. NOC, which has been a foundational experience and source of support for many of Singapore’s leading startup founders, was designed to expose NUS students to entrepreneurship via full-time internships with startups around the world.

Some NOC alumni have gone on to hold key positions in startup enablers. These include Durwin Ho, CEO and co-founder of innovation consultancy firm StartupX, Goh Yiping, serial entrepreneur turned-VC at Quest Ventures, as well as MDI Ventures’ investment director Shannon Lee Chaluangco. Tapping on seniors from both sides of the table gives NOC alumni-founded startups a leg up over the competition.

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Examining the Fundamentals of the Marketplace Business Model with James Tan, Managing Partner at Quest Ventures

Asia Startup Pulse

In this episode, we talk about all the business fundamentals of building a marketplace: from the advantages and challenges of building a marketplace to how to manage or control it, to the importance of timing in expanding to multiple markets. As someone who has built a successful e-commerce marketplace himself and invested in several more, James also shares the most innovative marketplace models in the market and how he believes the business model can be innovated. For early-stage VCs, the due diligence process tends to be more focused on the founders than businesses, he said, and added that he would focus on signs of grit, fund-raising charisma and the individual’s networks as part of his assessment.

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表扬卓越表现 八名本地青年获颁企业家奖

8视界

八名本地年轻企业家获颁全国青年企业家奖,以表彰他们在各自领域的卓越表现。

这个由创业行动社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship,ACE)联同*SCAPE和EDGE协办的《2021年全国青年创业奖》,主要表彰在过去一年来表现卓越的企业家。过去一年多来,全球受到2019冠状病毒疫情影响,因此本届的奖项着重在疫情下,能透过创新解决方案面对挑战的青年企业家。

颁奖典礼在今天(14日)于新加坡知新馆举行,贸工部兼文化、社区及青年部政务部长刘燕玲也受邀担任颁奖嘉宾。创业行动社群主席James Tan颁奖予其中一名得奖者。

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Singapore entrepreneur Harsh Dalal removed from Forbes list amid reports of unverifiable claims

The Straits Times

Local entrepreneur Harsh Dalal claimed to run a US$25 million (S$33 million) tech start-up and was one of the honorees of Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2021.

But less than a month after being named on the list of 300 entrepreneurs, the 19-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Singapore-based Team Labs has been removed amid reports that some of his previous claims cannot be verified.

On Wednesday (May 12), Forbes Asia editor Justin Doebele said in an article that the publication was removing Mr Dalal from its 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2021.

“His removal comes after a careful consideration of the findings of a comprehensive review of the information that was used to qualify him for the list, as well as new information that has come to light in recent days,” he wrote, adding that Forbes has also taken significant steps to tighten its evaluation process.

Quest Ventures partner Jeffrey Seah noted that Mr Dalal has demonstrated intelligence and eloquence beyond most peers his age, and perhaps these skills could have been used for more purposeful endeavours.

Forbes perhaps did not have sufficient resources to do full due diligence checks on each of the 30 Under 30 Asia submissions, but Mr Seah acknowledged that there are many strong entrepreneurs among the list’s alumni.

For early-stage VCs, the due diligence process tends to be more focused on the founders than businesses, he said, and added that he would focus on signs of grit, fund-raising charisma and the individual’s networks as part of his assessment.

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Report: Indonesia’s GajiGesa Adds New Investors

PYMNTS

GajiGesa, an Indonesian FinTech serving the country’s vast population of underbanked workers, has added new investors that will provide funds for adding services and customers, TechCrunch reported, attributing the information to the company.

The outlet didn’t provide an amount for the new funding, which reportedly came from OCBC NISP Ventura and the founders of the coffee chain Kopi Kenangan. OCBC is tied to a major bank in Indonesia. The founders of Kopi Kenangan reportedly have become prolific angel investors.

GajiGesa Indonesia, which describes itself on its LinkedIn page as “the financial wellness platform helping millions of Indonesians achieve financial dignity and security from their work,” announced the new funding on the same social media platform.

“We’re excited to accelerate our mission to expand financial resilience beyond big enterprise to digitally empower millions of micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners,” the company’s post stated. “Indonesia’s (medium and small enterprises) remain chronically underserved and need digital solutions to manage their workforce.”

GajiGesa was founded in 2020 by Agawarl and his wife, Martyna Malinowska. The company announced earlier this year that it had landed $2.5 million in seed-round funding from investors, including Defy.vc, Quest Ventures, GK-Plug and Play Indonesia, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners and Kanmo Group.

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Consumer Insights Provider Populix Raises New Funds

MrWeb

Indonesia-based consumer insights provider Populix has raised $1.2m in a pre-Series A round of funding, which it will use to roll out new products and expand its marketing efforts.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Timothy Astandu and COO Eileen Kamtawijoyo, Populix offers a platform to help businesses connect with respondents and better understand consumer preferences in Indonesia, as well as subscription-based services for brand health tracking and product launch perception auditing. The firm also sells in-house research and datasets to clients.

New funding has been led by existing investor Intudo Ventures, with participation from Quest Ventures and a number of other investors, and adds to the $1m seed financing raised in 2019. Jeff Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures, comments: ‘Southeast Asia is fast fulfilling its potential as the epicentre of global economic growth with Indonesia as the foremost market. We see that Populix has incisively deployed technology to modernise the old ‘market research’ service’.

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These 10 startups are getting ready to venture into Vietnam

KrASIA

COVID-19 made 2020 a difficult year for most economies around the world. Vietnam, however, has managed to pull through with positive developments. Despite many challenges, its GDP has grown over the first quarter of 2021, ending with a year-on-year 4.48% increase.

The Vietnam Global Innovation (VGI) program, powered by Quest Ventures, recently completed its four-week cohort program at the end of March, which focused on providing knowledge and valuable connections to Singaporean startups looking to expand their reach into Vietnam using a mix of in-person and online sessions.

After successfully running its first cohort last year, the 2021 edition has allowed founders from ten startups to learn new insights and also receive feedback on aspects such as their business models and market entry strategies.

Below are the startups that participated:

  1. Aespada Technologies: Aespada’s platform allows construction businesses to book heavy vehicles for the delivery of materials to construction sites. VGI provided co-founder Jean Christophe Li with some useful advice on market entry into Vietnam. “Ensure that you have a local presence, or a local Vietnamese agent who can bridge the gap much faster. Entering Vietnam will take a lot of resources and time, so ensure that the startup can dedicate sufficient time into the expansion,” said Li.
  2. Edsy Bitsy: Online platform Edsy Bitsy transforms written content into watchable videos, transforming long pieces of texts into smaller consumable watchable formats. Co-founder Deevak Premdas shared his plans for the startup in Vietnam over the coming months. “We will continue the development of the first version of our product, which we aim to complete by June. In the meantime, the non-profit in Vietnam I have spoken to is interested in running our pilot program for their summer school in June. As Vietnam has a booming after-school tutoring industry, Edsy Bitsy aims to reach out to these businesses to onboard them as our early adopters,” said Premdas.
  3. Fundigo: Crowdfunding and event listing platform Fundigo focuses on impact-driven businesses. The firm aims to allow these types of companies to raise capital and gain exposure to investors that are looking to work with those with social impact values. Vietnam presents a great opportunity for Fundigo, said founder and CEO Andrew Soh. “Vietnam is a growing market for impact businesses. After seeking advice from mentors during VGI and research, we know that it is a market where a lot of Gen-Z and millennials are starting their own impact businesses,” Soh said.
  4. Gmeal: The company runs a platform that allows corporate social responsible (CSR) sponsors to contribute meals and essential services to underprivileged communities. Its marketplace uses the concept of pay-it-forward to connect merchants with sponsors and provide those in need a helping hand. Director Bernice Tan sees Vietnam as a fantastic market for social impact work. “Vietnam has become one of the most dynamic impact investing markets in Southeast Asia. Foreign enterprises lead in strategic CSR, the government has embarked on mainstreaming green finance, and local governments have good initiatives for developing social impact goals,” said Tan.
  5. Hireplace: Networking platform Hireplace connects employers with potential hires. The firm also manages speed interview events to allow talents and those looking to hire to connect. Customer success manager Cherilyn Low found the masterclass lessons valuable to understand the market better. “We learned that Vietnam has developed into one of the leading startup hubs in the SEA region. The government supports the digital transformation initiative, which has attracted lots of startups and multinational firms to set up offices there,” said Low. “In addition to this, we’ve seen a growing number of interest in tech-related roles. People are quite open to working at international startups. From the information shared by the speakers, we gained a deeper understanding of the local working culture. It helps us understand the local recruitment market’s needs, develop a suitable entry strategy, and develop a series of virtual speed hiring events to help other startups hire the right talents,” Low said.
  6. Hydroleap: The company provides a chemical-free and cost-efficient water treatment solution based on electrical charge (electrocoagulation) to remove solids. For Wai Jun Mak, head of strategy and finance, the biggest insight the team learned from the program was a better understanding of the local regulatory landscape. “It is important to know and understand the business dynamics of how the industry actually works. In our case, we found that despite good regulations, water industry laws may not always be enforced on the ground. Despite this, there are major companies and industrial parks that continue to invest in good water treatment technologies to ensure that the surrounding environment is clean,” Mak said.
  7. Nabcore: Brand protection and tracking product platform Nabcore assists brands with tracking supply chain movements of goods and physical authentication of products. When asked about the startup’s plans for Vietnam over the next coming months, director of business development Guankai Ng explained that “our plan is to collaborate with potential local partners to provide suitable brand protection solutions for brand owners and organizations in Vietnam. Subsequently, as projects in Vietnam get firmed up, we will establish a presence there to support the partners.”
  8. Nino News: Subscription-based content streaming provider Nino News provides news content to assist educators when teaching preschool students. The co-founding team made up of Jenine Koh, Sienny Septibella, and Stacy Goh hopes to make news more accessible and fun for young children while giving them another way to absorb knowledge outside the classroom.
  9. SWAT Mobility: Mobility solution provider Swat Mobility provides a range of ride-sharing services that can be customized on-demand, based on users’ needs and preferences. The startup aims to improve traffic flow and reduce transportation costs with its technology. When asked about the biggest takeaway from the VGI program, regional director of marketing Annie Ong commented that “with a fast-growing smartphone penetration rate and a young workforce, the Vietnam market has a huge potential for disruption with mobile applications. Together with the Vietnam government’s National Digital Transformation program, there would be opportunities to help businesses digitalize their current processes. However, the technology that is implemented must be adapted to local taste and preferences to ensure long-term adoption and use.”
  10. Tanalink: Crop management platform Tanalink uses IoT technology, sensors, and data loggers to help planters monitor the number of plants harvested and areas covered. The company aims to reduce crop loss, improve efficiency, and harvest yield. CEO Patrick Martinent was excited at the prospect of entering Vietnam. “Vietnam provides a wonderful sandbox to both validate and grow the business. First, the tech ecosystem is thriving and the talent is world-class. Second, the country’s agriculture sector is ripe for disruption and innovation,” he said.

To register interest in the VGI cohort with Quest Ventures, click here.

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Populix raises US$1.2M to provide businesses with valuable insights on Indonesian customers

e27

Populix, an Indonesia-based consumer insights platform, announced today that it has raised US$1.2 million in a pre-Series A financing, led by existing investor Intudo Ventures.

Quest Ventures and a number of other strategic investors also joined the round.

“As we roll out new products and services, Populix will be able to more accurately capture the pulse of market dynamics and create significant value for our clients. In the future, Populix will introduce even more sophisticated services for our major clients that address targeted needs while continuing to refine our mass-market offerings to open the door for more people to gain access to consumer insights products,” said Timothy Astandu, co-founder of Populix.

“Southeast Asia is fast fulfilling its potential as the epicentre of global economic growth with Indonesia as the foremost market. As global and regional brands pour resources into the region, ensnaring the growth dividend lies in sense-making the disparate markets ahead of the competition. We see that Populix has incisively deployed technology to modernise the old ‘market research’ service,” said Jeff Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures.

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Indonesian consumer insights startup banks $1.2m from Quest Ventures, others

Tech in Asia

Indonesia-based consumer insights provider Populix announced it has raised US$1.2 million in its latest round of funding.

More funding details

  • Lead investor: Intudo Ventures
  • Other investors: Quest Ventures and others
  • Stage: Pre-series A

More company updates

  • Populix will use the fresh funds to roll out new products, increase hiring in the company, and invest in marketing.
  • The company offers a wide range of subscription-based and customized services, including brand health tracking, product launch perception auditing, customer satisfaction indexing, and custom research campaign management.
  • Currently, Populix is developing data set products that can periodically track market movements, allowing businesses to follow the changing market dynamics and consumer preferences.
  • The consumer insights firm now offers over 250,000 respondents on its proprietary panel across 300 cities in Indonesia.
  • In December 2019, Populix raised US$1 million in its seed round of financing led by Intudo Ventures.

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Vietnam-focused VCs eye startups enabling digital adoption by SMEs

DealStreetAsia

Venture capital investors in Vietnam are betting big on startups enabling digital transformation in small and medium enterprises across various sectors.

Active investors in the region — Do Ventures, Quest Ventures, Genesia, BEENEXT and VI Group — are bullish on backing tech startups that are mounting traditional or physical businesses onto the digital platform.

“Quest is looking for tech companies that will disrupt the agri-food tech sectors, fintech, and smart cities/urban solutions spaces,” said senior associate Michelle Ng.

The challenge could be educating not just the SMEs but even micro-businesses in Vietnam, Ng from Quest Ventures said.

“Micro-businesses and SMEs do not have the capacity for a digital transformation team to map out their plan,” she added.

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Opinion: Speculations around the new Gojek-Tokopedia CEO role arise, innovation key

Marketing Magazine

After months of speculation, Gojek is reportedly merging with Indonesian eCommerce platform Tokopedia to form GoTo and Gojek’s co-CEO Andre Soelistyo will lead the new entity, Bloomberg reported quoting its sources. Following the merger, Gojek’s shareholders will control 58% of the new holding company while Tokopedia’s owners have the rest, Bloomberg said.

Partner at Quest Ventures Jeffrey Seah said Gojek has always been the surrogate benchmark for Indonesia’s tech ecosystem coming of age. “The narrative on it has always been the alpha lead, from talent, funding, expansion and govt support. Gojek will bring this outsized ‘first and foremost’ mindset to Tokopedia,” he added.

Seah explained that previously, the fight centred around the vertical space – Gojek versus Grab versus Uber. With Makarim’s elevation to the government has an added sense of national duty and Indonesia’s Pancasila state ideology to Gojek’s role in the Indonesian society beyond tech, he added. Pancasila was formulated by former President Sukarno and comprises principles that include the unity of Indonesia and the idea of being governed by wise policies.

“Grab and Gojek’s tense merger dance – and the supposed desire of Grab to acquire – has built up a siege mentality mindset in the Indonesian tech ecosystem. With the merger, how far the merged entity should grow with this siege mentality and the speed to achieve the progress markers might be a source of friction,” Seah said. This will be especially evident in the expansion plans outside of the Indonesian diaspora into the burgeoning Southeast Asia market of which Indonesia is the foremost market. “The new company will eventually go global but it will push through via the Indonesian diaspora and expand,” he added.

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Grab co-founder set to dramatically increase voting rights with Nasdaq listing

Financial Times

Malaysian internet entrepreneur Anthony Tan is set to dramatically increase his control over his company Grab when the south-east Asian tech group joins Nasdaq later this year.

In a move that would be the envy of his Silicon Valley peers, the Grab chief executive and co-founder will have 60.4 per cent of the voting power in the company while owning a stake of just 2.2 per cent.

This is a feat comparable to that of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and unprecedented for a deal involving a special purpose acquisition company.

The holdings were contained in papers filed last week after the Singapore-based company unveiled a record deal to combine with a New York-listed Spac launched by Altimeter, a Silicon Valley group, valuing the business at almost $40bn.

Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures, said: “While he has supervoting rights, he has kept his management team intact. That is a [type of] check and balance.”

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仍是东南亚领先创投目的地 我国起步公司去年吸引55亿元投资额

联合早报

新加坡继续是东南亚领先的创投目的地,本地起步公司去年吸引了约55亿元投资额,是五年前的三倍。

总理公署部长兼人力部和贸工部第二部长陈诗龙说,在行业参与者和政府共同努力下,我国起步公司的生态体系在史无前例的冠病危机中继续蓬勃发展及保持韧性。

创业行动社群主席兼求索创投(Quest Ventures)合伙人陈中指出,我国培育了不少潜力巨大的起步公司,包括智慧芽公司(PatSnap)、买卖平台Carousell、油漆品牌制造商Gush,以及员工管理软件设计公司StaffAny等。它们都已向区域扩张,有些更迈向国际,“现在的挑战将是在这些成功基础上继续培育下一代冠军。”

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Start-ups raked in $5.5b in funding despite Covid-19

The New Paper

Start-ups in Singapore raked in $5.5 billion in funding last year, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

This figure, shared by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng yesterday, is lower than the funding garnered in recent years.

But it demonstrates the resilience of Singapore’s investment landscape and gives the Republic confidence it can do well despite the pandemic, he said, noting as well that the amount is almost three times what was received five years ago.

In comparison, Singapore start-ups drew $8.5 billion in 2019, and $14.3 billion in 2018.

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苏伊士运河复航 船运成本将减低

联合早报

在苏伊士运河搁浅近一周的大型集装箱船长赐号已经脱困,运河下来恢复通航。随着运河堵塞情况缓解,石油价格随之下跌,跌幅一度多达2.5%。

本地船运业公司昨早(3月29日)受访时表示,尽管运河恢复通航未定,交货延误可能长达两三周,但之前大堵塞局面有转机,对运输成本影响预料可受到限制。更重要的是,这消除船运公司面对的不确定因素。

本地船运咨询服务公司船狂(ShipsFocus)创办人蔡财宝接受《联合早报》访问时表示,长赐号传出脱浅消息,对受航道堵塞影响的船运业者,无疑是一个好消息,对船运公司的运输成本影响将进一步减低。

他说:“当初许多集装箱船堵在运河上,情况看似严重,但如果这些船只改道非洲好望角,最多只是增加一个多星期的航程,对运输成本影响是有限的。”

随着堵塞问题开始获得解决,他很高兴这些船运公司将不需要做出等待还是绕道的决定。虽然一些从欧洲运来的货品可能会拖延两三周,他认为船运公司至少避免堵塞问题何时能解决的不确定性。

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SGX said to set minimum SPAC value at $200-300m, SE Asian VCs voice concern

DealStreetAsia

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is close to finalising the framework for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) to list, but stakeholders close to these discussions have voiced concerns over key items in the bourse’s proposal.

SGX, which began a public consultation to study the feasibility of SPAC listings in January, is understood to be setting a minimum SPAC value at $200-300 million, with an eye to allowing listings in the third quarter of this year.

SPACs are blank cheque firms that raise capital solely to acquire private entities with the aim of eventually taking them public.

Two sources disclosed that a consortium of Singaporean investors including GGV Capital’s Jenny Lee, Monk’s Hill Ventures’s Lim Kuo Yi and Quest Ventures’s James Tan had previously engaged in private discussions with Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and other government agencies to find a solution.

One of the proposals presented was the setting up of a separate exchange akin to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board, or better known as China’s STAR Board, which would be more friendly to Singaporean tech listings. The discussions were first conceived around 2-3 years ago and accelerated in the last 3 months, but one insider source does not think that the SGX will pull this off anytime soon.

Quest Ventures and Monk’s Hill Ventures declined to comment for the story. DealStreetAsia has contacted GGV Capital for a comment.

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Сервис с «умными» ключами для аренды квартир ApartX получил инвестиции при оценке $2 млн

Рамблер

ApartХ — это проект для владельцев посуточной арендной недвижимости. С помощью мобильного приложения они могут дистанционно управлять доступом к квартирам при помощи «умных» замков. Такие замки генерируют ограниченные по времени PIN-коды (в зависимости от срока аренды).

Коды передаются арендаторам недвижимости через СМС или мессенджеры. Приложение автоматически синхронизирует заполняемость недвижимости на таких площадках по аренде квартир, как AirBnb и Booking. Стартап представлен в 7 городах: Нур-Султан, Алматы, Шымкент, Павлодар, Актобе, Кокшетау и Москва.

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Сервис с «умными» ключами для аренды квартир ApartX получил инвестиции при оценке $2 млн

Rusbase

ApartХ — это проект для владельцев посуточной арендной недвижимости. С помощью мобильного приложения они могут дистанционно управлять доступом к квартирам при помощи «умных» замков. Такие замки генерируют ограниченные по времени PIN-коды (в зависимости от срока аренды).

Коды передаются арендаторам недвижимости через СМС или мессенджеры. Приложение автоматически синхронизирует заполняемость недвижимости на таких площадках по аренде квартир, как AirBnb и Booking. Стартап представлен в 7 городах: Нур-Султан, Алматы, Шымкент, Павлодар, Актобе, Кокшетау и Москва.

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Quest Ventures, ScaleUp Malaysia invest in 11 firms

Digital Life Asia

Women founders took center stage as ScaleUp Malaysia and Quest Ventures announced the selection of the Top 11 companies in their second cohort. Sixty-five percent of the scaleups selected consisted of women founders. Quest Ventures and ScaleUp Malaysia disbursed a total amount of RM2,750,000 (US$680,185) in investments for Cohort 2. These companies will receive an investment of RM250,000 (US$61,844) each to grow their business regionally in their #Quest2Scale.

“We had some amazing companies joining us as part of this cohort and we are proud of how far each of them has progressed in the program. This was a very difficult decision but ultimately, the investment committee selected the companies that they believed had the potential to grow their business regionally with the support of our partner, Quest Ventures,” said ScaleUp Malaysia Managing Partner Tay Shan Li in a press statement.

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Quest Ventures, Scale-up Malaysia back 11 startups

e27

Amount invested: The duo disbursed a total amount of MYR 2.8 million (US$680,000) in investments for their second cohort. These companies will receive an investment of MYR250,000 (US$61,000) each to grow their business regionally.

The 11 startups are:

ERTH (e-Waste Recycling Through Heroes): A social enterprise that specialises in collecting and recycling e-waste from household and businesses.

Fefifo: Pioneering digitalised, standardised farming in ready-to-farm modern farm spaces, to bring sustainable and profitable smallholder farming into Southeast Asia.

Hatio: Specialising in supply chain and logistics. Its services span warehouse automation, smart logistics, robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

Hauz: A data-driven enterprise solution that manages and monitors mobile workforce operations in the service industry.

Homa2u: An O2O firm building materials and interior finishes marketplace for house projects.

Kiddocare: An online platform that connects parents with trained Malaysian baby sitters and early childhood education providers for personalised, on-demand services.

Load2Go: An on-demand logistics platform for booking trucks for large freight, construction and manufacturing industries.

MMC: A food-based company that operates several different businesses, including a central kitchen, food mart, cafe and vending machines.

MyBump: A car wrap advertising company that matches brands with drivers for data-backed creative execution outdoor advertising.

Pomen: A SaaS automotive maintenance platform that specialises in connecting fleet companies and vehicle owners with workshops and service providers.

Quadby: The Nextdoor for universities. Quadby is a community app for students to find and chat with peers on campus.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest Ventures invest over $680k in 11 growth-stage startups

Tech in Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia and Quest Ventures on Tuesday announced that they will invest over 2.7 million Malaysian ringgit (US$680,185) in 11 growth-stage startups in the country, supporting the businesses’ regional expansion plans.

The young companies, coming from sectors such as education, waste management, logistics, advertising, and agriculture, are a part of ScaleUp Malaysia’s second cohort. They will run through a three-month intensive business coaching program and receive an investment of 250,000 Malaysian ringgit (US$61,844) each.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest invest over USD 680,000 in growth-stage startups

KrASIA

ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator, and Singaporean VC Quest Ventures on Tuesday announced that they will invest MYR 2.75 million (USD 680,185) in eleven fast-growing Malaysian startups supporting their regional expansion.

The young companies, coming from sectors such as education, waste management, logistics, advertising, agriculture, are part of ScaleUp Malaysia’s second cohort. They will run through a 3-month intensive business coaching program and receive an investment of MYR 250,000 (USD 61,844) each.

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ScaleUp Malaysia, Quest Ventures invest in 11 companies

Digital News Asia

LOCAL accelerator ScaleUp Malaysia, which launched its second cohort of 20 companies in October 2020 in partnership with Quest Ventures, has selected 11 companies for their second cohort, disbursing a total of US$676,000 (RM2.75 million).

These 11 companies will receive an investment of US$61,844 (RM250,000) each to grow their business regionally, the company said in a statement. Diversity was also a highlight of this cohort, as 65% of the scaleups selected consisting of women founders.

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ScaleUp Malaysia & Quest Ventures Invests In 11 Companies On Their #Quest2Scale

Yahoo Finance

ScaleUp Malaysia which launched its second cohort of 20 companies in October 2020 in partnership with Quest Ventures has announced its selection of Top 11 companies, disbursing a total amount of RM2,750,000 (USD680,185) in investments for their second Cohort. These companies will receive an investment of RM250,000 (USD61,844) each to grow their business regionally.

Tay Shan Li, Managing Partner of ScaleUp Malaysia said, “We had some amazing companies joining us as part of this cohort and we are proud of how far each of them has progressed in the programme. This was a very difficult decision but ultimately, the investment committee selected the companies that they believed had the potential to grow their business regionally with the support of our partner, Quest Ventures.”

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Gojek hunts for a new head of marketing for Singapore

Marketing Magazine

Gojek is on the lookout for a new head of marketing in Singapore. This comes as its previous head of marketing for Singapore, Archishman Ramasubramanian, has moved on to take on the role of head of global demand, strategy and planning, transport group.

The appointed individual will be tasked to define the long term brand strategy for Gojek Singapore, according to a job posting seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. He or she will also be responsible for driving growth and market share, as well as lead and further develop capabilities in the Gojek Singapore marketing team across digital, brand, CRM and creative channels. Additionally, the individual will have to collaborate with various teams, namely product, marketplace, operations and data, to determine the general long term consumer acquisition, retention, and driver engagement strategies. The new head of marketing will report to Jasper Distel, group head of international marketing at Gojek.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, said traction of joint business plans are often not uniform outside of host market. He added that a Gojek-Tokopedia merger would thus allow marketers to enter into joint business plans for the Indonesian market at the levels of Google or Facebook, which is “a scale unseen before in the marketing and data world”.

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Quest Ventures joins S$200,000 seed round for celebrity video platform Sendjoy

The Business Times

VENTURE capital firm Quest Ventures has joined a S$200,000 seed funding round for Singapore-based celebrity video platform Sendjoy to expand in Asia.

Sendjoy was launched in June 2020 by Singapore film producer Low Ser En and co-founder Lim Liang Chun. It said that it has grown from 20 “sendjoyers” – celebrities and talent who can be engaged for personalised greeting videos – to over 200. They include local celebrities Gurmit Singh and Nat Ho.

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said in a press statement: “Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a rapidly growing need for consumers to find novel ways to stay connected to each other, and for celebrities and creators to be more creative in engaging their fans and communities when they can’t meet in person.

“The events of 2020 sped up consumer adoption of social video tools like Zoom and TikTok. Against this backdrop, Sendjoy is leading a new consumer behaviour of creating and sharing high-quality mobile video greetings through a digital marketplace approach.”

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Singapore-based social video firm Sendjoy raises $150k in seed round

Tech in Asia

Social video platform Sendjoy announced it has raised S$200,000 (US$150,800) in a seed round from venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

Founded by the British Film and Television Award-winning producer Low Ser En, Sendjoy is a personal video platform where users can book video messages from 200 popular celebrities and creators, including musicians, actors, comedians, and illustrators.

“The events of 2020 sped up consumer adoption of social video tools like Zoom and TikTok,” said James Tan, managing partner at Quest Ventures. “Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a rapidly growing need for consumers to find novel ways to stay connected to each other.”

Sendjoy will capitalize on Southeast Asia’s booming online media market, which is poised to hit US$35 billion by 2025.

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Fintech Startup GajiGesa Provides Early Access to Salary for Employees

DailySocial.id

The thing is, the monthly payroll system in Indonesia held an issue for most workers. According to BPS data, Indonesia has at least 129 million workers, many of whom face financial pressures and difficulties caused by irregular cash flow, monthly payment schedules, unexpected expenses, and limited financial access.

The World Bank FINDEX estimates that 70% of Indonesians borrow money from informal institutions, often with high-interest rates and super-tense collection systems. GajiGesa intends to solve this issue, which was initiated at the end of 2020 by Martyna Malinowska (previously Standard Chartered Bank’s Product Lead and LenddoEFL’s Product Director) and Vidit Agrawal (formerly APAC Strap’s Head of Business Development and CARRO’s COO).

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New Year, New Funds: The Top Funding Rounds in Asia So Far in 2021

The Fintech Times

Though the year has only just started, there have already been some major funding announcements in the fintech sector including in Asia – with Indonesia and other parts of South Asia seeing a particular boom. Though the world is still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has provided many fintechs with an opportunity to take advantage of the increased digitalisation, particularly in the payments space, with new fintechs even being founded last year in response.

Here are some of the top Asian funding rounds that have happened so far in 2021:

GajiGesa

GajiGesa, a financial wellness company that offers Earned Wage Access and other services for Indonesian workers, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures, with other participants including GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.

The company launched in October 2020 as a response to the large numbers of unbanked people in Indonesia, around 66% of the 260 million population. It was founded by husband and wife team Vidit Agrawal, Uber’s first employee in Asia, and Martyna Malinowska, who in the past led product development at Standard Chartered SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform Lenddo EFL.

“These hardworking Indonesians had no fair or formal sources for easy access to capital. Further, the most common reason for borrowing was short-term liquidity issues,” Agrawal told TechCrunch. “But workers were forced to borrow either long-term, high ticket size loans or short-term loans with exorbitantly high-interest rates.”

During COVID-19, Agrawal said the start-up has “seen insatiable demand and support for GajiGesa’s EWA solution from employers. This is partly attributed to the various challenges employers are facing due to the effects of COVID-19, but our platform is designed to support employers and employees in the long-term. The value of EWA and the other services we offer is not limited to the pandemic.”

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Fintech startup GajiGesa raises US$2.5m in seed funding to expand reach in Indonesia

The Business Times

GAJIGESA, a fintech platform that allows users to access their wages in real-time, has raised US$2.5 million in seed funding to expand its reach in Indonesia. The round was co-led by US-based Defy.vc and Singapore-based Quest Ventures.

GajiGesa offers services such as Earned Wage Access (EWA), financial literacy content, bill payments and real-time analytics. Founded in 2020 by Vidit Agarwal and Martyna Malinowska, the startup aims to provide financial resilience for workers in Indonesia and help partner companies more effectively and easily manage their cash flow.

Mr Agarwal said that GajiGesa is aiming to build financial resilience “at scale”.

He added: “EWA is crucial to increasing the short-term financial wellness of Indonesian workers by eliminating their dependence on loan sharks or other informal and expensive sources of capital.”

Goh Yiping, a partner at Quest Ventures, agreed, saying: “GajiGesa’s platform is helping middle- to low-income workers who live pay cheque to pay cheque deal with stressful cash-flow issues. It provides much needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty.”

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Myanmar turmoil threatens digital economy, say experts

KrASIA

As Myanmar’s military detained the country’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, together with other senior officials, on Monday, seizing control of the government, the internet suddenly went dark for many. The gag, which commenced at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, also crippled businesses that rely on broadband connectivity. It paralyzed the banking system, shutting ATMs and branches for the day, while fintech services such as payment and microfinance apps stopped to work.

Leading mobile wallet Wave Money was among the tech startups that had to suspend its services. Although it was back online on Tuesday, the firm fears further disruptions that could “slow down if not undo” the country’s efforts in building up a digital economy. “Any sector that depends on connectivity would be severely impacted,” a spokesperson told KrASIA. “Businesses and societies face a lot of challenges when telecommunication services are impaired.”

Jeffrey Seah, partner at Singapore-based VC firm Quest Ventures, believes that the investment climate will be slowing down “temporarily.” But he also thinks that it provides an opportunistic window for more “capabilities building” for the startups. “We are watching the situation closely to return to participate in the Myanmar digital economy,” he said.

Seah remains optimistic on the country’s potential. “The digital literacy and connectivity of the Burmese people and its wider diaspora have risen exponentially in the past decade,” he said. “We believe the talent in the tech ecosystem will continue to tap on those trends and continue their development amidst the recent uncertainty.”

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The financial wellness firm of ex-Uber, StanChart execs nets $2.5m in seed funding

Tech in Asia

Financial wellness platform GajiGesa has raised US$2.5 million in a seed round co-led by Silicon Valley’s Defy and early-stage VC firm Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group, and a number of strategic angel investors also took part in the round, according to a statement.

Founded just last year, the Indonesia-headquartered startup created a fintech platform that provides member employees with financial management tools such as earned wage access and financial education. It also empowers employer partners with an enterprise-grade HR analytics platform to improve employee output.

The company was established by seasoned fintech veterans Martyna Malinowska, who previously worked as product lead at Standard Chartered Bank, and Vidit Agarwal, who was formerly Stripe’s head of business development for Asia Pacific with stints at Uber and Carro.

“GajiGesa’s financial wellness platform is helping middle to low income workers who live paycheck to paycheck deal with stressful cash flow issues,” said Quest Ventures partner Yiping Goh. “It provides much-needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty.”

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GajiGesa Raises $2.5 Million To Reach More Underbanked Indonesians

PYMNTS

The FinTech GajiGesa Indonesia has landed $2.5 million in a seed round of funding. The company announced via LinkedIn that the funding will be used to “help expand financial resilience for workers across Indonesia.”

Funders included Defy.vc, Quest Ventures, GK-Plug and Play Indonesia, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners and Kanmo Group.

“At GajiGesa, we firmly believe every hardworking Indonesian deserves financial fairness, security and dignity,” said Co-founder Martyna Malinowska. She added that the company would give workers the tools they need.

The company was founded last year by Malinowska and her husband, Vidit Agrawal. She said she worked with many people who did not have bank accounts while at LenddoEFL, an alternative credit assessment platform.

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GajiGesa, a fintech startup serving underbanked Indonesian workers, raises $2.5 million seed round

TechCrunch

GajiGesa, a fintech company that offers Earned Wage Access (EWA) and other services for workers in Indonesia, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures. Other participants included GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.

The company was founded last year by husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska. Agrawal was Uber’s first employee in Asia and has also served in leadership positions at Carro and Stripe. Malinowska led product development at Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform LenddoEFL.

About 66% of Indonesia’s 260 million population is “unbanked,” which means they don’t have a bank account and have limited access to financial services like loans. Agrawal and Malinowska decided to launch GajiGesa in Indonesia because Malinowska worked with many unbanked workers while at LenddoEFL.

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Former Carro COO’s financial wellness app GajiGesa bags US$2.5M seed for Indonesia expansion

e27

GajiGesa, an Indonesian financial wellness platform, announced today it has raised US$2.5 million in a seed funding round, co-led by Silicon Valley-based Defy.vc and Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners, Kanmo Group and multiple strategic angel investors also participated.

As per the company, the fresh funds will be used to expand its platform in Indonesia while also scaling its tech team in Jakarta.

GajiGesa was launched in 2020 by the husband-wife duo of Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska. Agrawal was the first Uber employee in Asia and previously the COO of automotive marketplace startup Carro. Malinowska was previously at Standard Chartered and Singapore-based fintech startup LenddoEFL.

“GajiGesa’s financial wellness platform is helping middle to low-income workers who live paycheck to paycheck deal with stressful cash-flow issues. It provides much needed financial stability for employers and their employees during a time of unprecedented and continued economic uncertainty,” said Yiping Goh, Partner at Quest Ventures.

According to BPS (Statistics Indonesia) data, there are approximately 129 million workers in Indonesia, many of whom regularly face increased financial stress and hardship because of cash flow constraints, traditional monthly payment schedules, unexpected expenses, and limited financial access.

The World Bank Findex estimates over 70 per cent of Indonesians borrow from informal sources, often with extortionate interest rates and undesirable terms.

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Indonesian financial wellness platform GajiGesa raises $2.5m and other SE Asia deals

DealStreetAsia

Indonesian financial wellness platform GajiGesa on Thursday announced that it has raised a $2.5 million seed round. The round was co-led by US-based, early-stage venture capital firm Defy.vc, and Singapore-headquartered Quest Ventures.

GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group, and several strategic angel investors also participated in the round.

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ACE助力 创业生态百花齐放

联合早报

商会是各行业的领头羊,在企业转型的道路上,商会扮演了重要的角色。“一道来谈”栏目邀请积极转型的本地商会和会员,让他们一道分享转型的心路历程。

本期打头阵是创办于2003年的创业行动社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship,简称ACE),与传统商会不同的是,ACE不局限于任何行业、主要面向本地起步公司,致力于在我国营造充满活力的创业生态环境,助本地创业者一臂之力。

早前由政府和私人企业家共同领导的创业行动社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship,简称ACE),近20年来最大改变是在2014年走向私营化,转身变成非盈利的私有化公司。

ACE主席兼求索创投(Quest Ventures)合伙人陈中(46岁)接受《联合早报》访问时说,创业生态系统要取得成功须有五大关键支柱,除了起步公司之外,还要公共部门、高等教育机构、企业,以及风险资本之间相互配合。

统计局2019年数据显示,我国有3600家起步公司,聘用约1万8000名员工,且深耕不同领域,包括消费、金融、教育和医疗等。此外,本地也有150家创投公司和100个孵化公司与机构。

自2011年便加入ACE的陈中,曾担任董事会成员和副主席,去年正式升任主席,亲眼见证本地创业生态发展。他指出,冠病疫情来袭为起步公司带来机遇及挑战,有些因此被淘汰,不过有些却蓬勃发展,例如远程教育、医疗科技等。

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Singapore’s ‘voracious’ GIC tops list of most active state-linked investors, ahead of China and Japan

SCMP

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC emerged as the most active state-owned investor in the world last year, outranking larger state funds from China, Norway and Japan, as other investors downshifted amid the volatility brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report by independent data and analysis platform Global SWF comparing the activities of 438 state-owned investors, GIC, the 10th-largest state fund worldwide, deployed US$17.7 billion into 65 deals – down slightly from US$24 billion in 2019.

James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said the success of Singapore’s state-owned investors was evident, pointing to how net investment returns were the largest contributor to Singapore’s government revenues, overtaking corporate and personal income taxes, as well as the goods and services tax.

Tan added that the sectors of interest in the past year were all geared towards how governments could better respond to future pandemics. Covid-19, he said, has raised the issue of how to safeguard basic needs and capabilities, ranging from productivity to education to food and health care systems.

“Considering the mandate of sovereign wealth funds in general, which is to make long-term generational investments that secure the country’s financial future, it makes sense that these investments point towards innovation that secures the future in other ways as well,” he said.

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Analysis: Be it Grab or Tokopedia, industry players outline Gojek’s possible merger impact on ad industry

Marketing Magazine

Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, said the advertising and marketing industries are traditionally organised by geography for decision-making and budget allocation. Ecosystem partnerships across geography markets have been entered into by multinational companies and regional brands, but traction of joint business plans (JBP) are often not uniform outside of host market. A Gojek-Tokopedia merger will allow marketers to enter into JBPs for the Indonesian market at the levels of Google or Facebook, which Seah said is “a scale unseen before in the marketing and data world”.

“The economic and ecosystem value realisation for a Gojek-Tokopedia merger will be more than the sum-of-the-parts approach, and concurrently provide a stronger pedestal ramp for future Indonesian ecosystem-originate maturing tech companies to exit,” he explained.

On the surface, both companies seem like a good fit for Gojek given their prominence in the industry. However, our experts say a Gojek-Tokopedia would make more sense. According to Quest Ventures’ Seah, a Gojek-Tokopedia merger will “reinforce Indonesia’s Pancasila state ideology” formulated by former President Sukarno. Pancasila comprises principles which include the unity of Indonesia and the idea of being governed by wise policies. According to Seah, a merger between the two Indonesian companies will been seen as the pride of an Indonesian government-led company driving an independent Indonesia economy.

“From an ecosystem development and start-up talent pride angle, Gojek-Tokopedia will be more welcomed and preferred for the vast and expansive Indonesian ecosystem. From a nationalistic angle, these two companies have rejuvenated the Indonesian formal employment market, raised access consumption, and brought about green shoots in the diversification of the Indonesian economy away from natural resources,” Seah explained. Compared to a merger with Grab, or as what Grab CEO Anthony Tan terms an “acquisition” in his internal note to employees, Seah said the cultural fit and speed of integration “will definitely be more frictionless” between Gojek and Tokopedia.

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500 Startups, Monk’s Hill, others join forces to form Vietnam Venture Capital Alliance

e27

As many as 17 VC firms have come together to form the Vietnam Venture Capital Alliance (VVCA) to help the local market flourish, as per a press statement.

The VC firms include ThinkZone Ventures, 500 Startups, CyberAgent Capital, Vietnam Investment Group, Openspace Ventures, Access Ventures, Quest Ventures, Genesia Venture, Monk’s Hill Ventures, eWTP Capital, Teko Ventures, VIC Partners, Venturra, Next100, Nextrans, FEBE Ventures and Duane Morris.

VVCA is a non-legal organisation which will cooperate with the government to propose policies that will help the country attract more capital while expanding the legal corridor for startup business models.

The goal is to remove major barriers such as lack of startup investment knowledge and legal barriers for foreign investment funds.

Its activities will be implemented across three focus areas, which include issuing an annual summary report on investment activities, organising a dialogue with the government on investment for innovative startups and proposing policies to improve the startup investment environment.

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37 VCs to invest US$800M+ in Vietnam’s startups over next 3-5 years

e27

As many as 37 venture capital firms spanning South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam have pledged over US$800 million to support Vietnam’s startup ecosystem over the next three to five years.

The pledge-signing ceremony was held at the Vietnam Venture Summit 2020, organised as part of The Vietnam Tech and Startup Week, in Hanoi.

The VC firms who pledged investments include VinaCapital Ventures, Do Ventures, Nextrans, ThinkZone, NextTech, VietCapital Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures, Smilegate Investment, FEBE Ventures, Genesia Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Vertex Holdings, 500 Startups, and Quest Ventures, among others.

As per a press statement, the commitment marks the return of uptake in investments within the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.

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Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are emerging as Central Asia’s top start-up hubs

Emerging Europe

Innovative start-ups may not be the first thing that springs to mind when Central Asia is mentioned, but the region has in recent years been quietly carving itself a niche, especially Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The two countries now have start-up hubs, accelerators, and – crucially – an emerging venture capital ecosystem.

Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan has been leading the way in winning recognition in the global start-up world, with Startup Genome, a research and policy advisory organisation, awarding it a maximum 10 in its latest funding growth index, which measures growth of early-stage funding. According to Startup Genome, the average seed round of a start-up in Nur-Sultan is around 300,000 US dollars, a decent amount not too far short of the global average of 494,000 US dollars.

Start-ups are also quickly catching up with the kind of services that western firms have been offering for years. ApartX, a service for owners of rental properties lets its clients manage their units remotely and safely using smart locks.

Of the currently active funds, QazTech Ventures, a US-based fund, is one of the biggest players which cooperates with 500 start-ups. QazTech also conducts search and selection of Kazakh start-ups for the Singapore-based VC fund Quest Ventures.

“Angel investing is a key to early stage start-up development. But in Kazakhstan not all investors are experienced angels. Our member angel investors are helping to grow and develop start-ups by introducing them to new investors, strategic partners and providing necessary expertise,” Ruslan Rakymbay, founding member of QazAngels, tells Emerging Europe.

“Indeed, start-ups are a new thing, but the ecosystem already has incubators, accelerators, VC funds and start-ups. Not a lot, but this is only the beginning. Kazakhstan still needs to work its legislation/regulation in that field, develop and grow in quality and quantity acceleration programmes, and provide incentives for investors to invest,” he adds.

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Meet Mentor For Hope, the startup mentorship programme that will donate 50K meals for those in need

e27

More than 140 leading names in the regional startup ecosystem –from venture capital firms, accelerators or incubators, to other organisations– announced the launch of Mentor For Hope, a programme aiming to raise the equivalent of 50,000 meals for those in need while supporting startups in the time of crisis at the same time.

Vertex Ventures, Sequoia India, Big Idea Ventures, Saison Capital, Qualgro, e27, Golden Gate Ventures, Quest Ventures, Give.Asia, Insignia Ventures Partners, Openspace Ventures, Antler, BLOCK71 by NUS Enterprise, SGInnovate, StartupX, SheVC (a SoGal Foundation initiative), SoGal Ventures, NTUitive, STRIVE, Hustle Fund, Asia Institute for Mentoring, Wantedly and VentureCap Insights are among those supporting the initiative so far.

Mentor for Hope evolved from the “Gratitude-COVID mentoring initiative” started by Tan in Singapore when her role at a venture firm was made redundant a month ago. Feeling inspired to keep on helping the startup ecosystem, she was later joined by Sharon Yeo Mei Ching and Gwen Sim, both final-year students at National University of Singapore (NUS).

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